1. How to Choose a Restaurant
- Decide your food preference and budget
It’s always useful to look at a restaurant’s website for a menu and prices as well as online reviews about the place you want to dine in. However, make sure to ask a friend’s opinion, too - as word of mouth is the strongest praise available and the perfect place to start.
- Check specific food websites
Companies such as Yelp, Google Reviews, and Trip Advisor offer a great resource to those who are looking to find the best restaurant. These websites can help you determine the quality of a restaurant.
- Check the number of stars on the review
Any restaurant worth visiting will have at least three and a half stars, however ideally you should look out for four stars or above.
Make sure to read a sample of reviews to see what the pros and cons of a restaurant. Reviews offer a great way to see what the best dishes as photos are often included with the reviews.
- Always check the dates of the reviews
Some restaurants have changes in management therefore the content of the reviews may change depending on the date.
- Think about dietary restrictions
In case you are a vegetarian, have nut allergies, or have celiac's disease it's vital to carefully read over the menu to see if there will be a proper number of food options for you to choose from.
2. Determine Etiquette Before the Arrival to the Restaurant
- Wear suitable attire
Although few restaurants will completely refuse you for being underdressed, it's still important to dress properly if you're eating at an upscale establishment. So, it’s wise to check out the restaurant's website to see what type of dress code to expect.
- Jacket - mandatory
This is usually the highest dress code restaurants will require - which means the man is expected to wear a formal jacket such as a sports-coat or blazer, while a woman should wear the equivalent such as a gowns, dresses, or pantsuits.
- Formal attire
When it comes to restaurants requiring formal attire, this dress code can be a little bit more diverse than a jacket required code. Women can choose to wear cocktail dresses or more comfortable long dresses. And men should wear something like a sport coat, however nice slacks and a tucked in button-down shirt would generally be acceptable.
- Formal-casual attire
Many restaurants will require something in-between the fanciest and the most low-key establishments. Examples of formal-casual or casual elegant are: turtlenecks, nice sweaters, a simple black dress, button-down shirt with a light sports coat, darker colors, leather shoes, or jewelry.
- Casual attire
Although casual is the most relaxed requirement for dress code, that doesn't translate into wearing sweaty, ripped clothing. Something as simple as a fresh t-shirt and a clean pair of jeans with sneakers is acceptable. It’s important to remember to keep up basic hygiene though. Casual doesn't mean you can spread body odor through the restaurant.
- Make a reservation
When you have decided on a place, make a reservation—even if it is only 15 minutes before when you would like to eat. This is a common courtesy and gives the host or employee answering the phone an opportunity to share any pertinent information about the night.
The host also may suggest the best time to come, letting you know when you will get the most care and attentive service. Now would also be a great opportunity to inform the restaurant and kitchen of any important dietary restrictions or serious allergies you may have.
3. Be there on time
Just like in the case of a doctor’s visit or a job interview, arrive a few minutes early. This simple bit of pre-planning allows the restaurant to run a smooth schedule so other patrons aren't kept waiting longer. In case you are running considerably late, make sure to inform the restaurant regarding your delay.
- Find out about the best parking options
Restaurants located in busy downtown centers may have a lack of parking so you need to consider whether it's necessary to bring extra money for parking decks or valets. Consider taking public transportation or calling a taxi in case the parking situation looks critical so you don't spend more time circling for a space then you do eating your food.
- Offer to wait at the bar
In case you notice your table isn’t ready or they look really busy, a bit of empathy and a small gesture of goodwill can go a long way toward relieving a restaurant worker who seems overwhelmed at the moment of your arrival. To your surprise, you may even be given a complimentary drink or small offering from the kitchen as a thank you.
How do you prepare for dining out at a restaurant? And, what type of restaurant is your favorite? Please share with us in the comments section below.